Gazing at the Dim Sum cart full of Shumai trundles through the narrow gaps between the tables and chairs in a crowded Dim Sum restaurant will guarantee to make your belly rumbles.

When I was young, my father would bring my family to a Dim Sum restaurant for breakfast. The restaurant was busy and bustling. I watched the old lady maneuvered the Dim Sum Cart through the tight space between the rickety tables, calling out Shumai and Har Gau she served. Gossipy old women dominated the conversation with her shrill voice, and a well-dressed gentleman reading the newspaper and sipping his Pu-erh tea quietly. There are full of people who enjoy Yum Cha (tea drinking) for breakfast savor the delicate flavor of an array of delicious Dim Sum.

For me, I just wanted to indulge in the heavenly Shumai, barbecue pork bun, and shrimp dumplings.

Learn how to make Shumai 烧卖 at home. Shumai is one most famous dim sum best enjoy with a pot of bottomless Chinese tea.

This traditional Dim Sum restaurant is famous for the triumvirate of Shumai 烧卖, barbecue pork bun 叉烧包, and shrimp dumpling 虾饺. The quality of these “Cantonese Big Three” Dim Sum is often used as the golden rule to gauge the standard of a Dim Sum restaurant.

Shumai remains as my favorite Dim Sum through the years. My mother-in-law loved to make a large tray of Shumai at home. She used a large metal round tray to hold the Shumai instead of the bamboo steamer because she wanted to make as many Shumai as possible for everyone in the family to enjoy.  She showed me how to make Cantonese Shumai with chop shrimps and pork, which I still remember vividly until today.

She never documented the recipe, so I have to figure out the quantity and ingredients myself. I also referred to Cantonese Shumai recipes by chefs and bloggers and learned a great deal from them.

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Cantonese Shumai Recipe

The Shumai recipes I referred too are all Cantonese style Shumai. Although this version of Shumai has become world renowned, Shumai is originated from Inner Mongolia of China. The recipe of this delicacy has passed down since the Ming dynasty and brought to other regions of China. The original shumai from Inner Mongolia is filled with meat (lamb) and vegetables but has evolved to become the current recipes widespread in Southern Chian and Hong Kong

shumai recipe

Minor differences, major impact

Here is a list of Shumai recipes that I have reproduced it in my kitchen. I have learned a great deal of the techniques, type of ingredients, and seasonings along the way. All of them have a profound influence on the final version of Cantonese Shumai that I think is the best, in my opinion.

1. Dumpling Sisters – Siu Mai: Pork and Prawn Dumplings

Dumpling Sisters is the website managed by Amy and Julie hail from the Guangzhou, the food haven of China who grew up in New Zealand. Their recipe is straightforward, simple yet elegant.

Amy and Julie used pork loin instead of pork belly. Pork loin is tender and does not need additional fat to tenderize the Shumai.

The filling is tasty, with a mild ginger flavor. While some Cantonese Shumai does not include ginger, I would think this is a personal preference. Other than the ginger, it is very close to the taste of Shumai in any authentic Hong Kong Dim Sum store.

2. Serious Eats- How to Make Pork and Shrimp Siu Mai, a Classic Chinese Dim Sum Dumpling

This recipe is contributed by Shao Z. who was born in Guangzhou, the birthplace of Cantonese Dim Sum. She used a food processor (with pulse action) to blend the fillings, which is a brilliant way to simplify the process and yet getting the result close to coarsely chopped pork by hand.

She suggested to soak the shrimp in cold water and baking soda for 30 minutes, then rinsed the shrimp under running water. Although she did not mention the purpose of this step, I would think this is the method to make the shrimp taste crunchy.

I do prefer to have slightly more shrimp in the combination. The minute amount of extra virgin olive oil in the recipe is insignificant to make it anything less authentic.

3. Mama Chong- 燒賣- 香港点心做法 Shumai/ Siu Mai Hong Kong Dim Sum Recipe

Mama Chong spoke in pure Cantonese with the classic Hong Kong accent in her YouTube videos. Her recipes are all about traditional Hong Kong cooking.

Her recipe has dry scallop in it, which provides a unique flavor to the Shumai. Most of the Dim Sum restaurants hardly include scallop in the recipe as it is expensive.

She has a unique method to prepare the meat filling. She mixed the seasoning with the pork for 15 minutes by hand, add the chopped prawns and mixes for another 15 minutes. She said this method can tenderize the meat filling. Unfortunately, I did not have the patient as much as Mama Chong. I stopped short for less than 10 minutes, but the combination of the ingredients has transformed from the initial lump of loose mass to a firm paste, much like the burger patty. I believe prolonged mixing can make the filling more compact so that it is easier to handle during the wrapping process.

4. Josephine’s recipes- Dim Sum | Siu Mai 燒賣 Pork and Prawn Dumplings

I like Josephine’s recipe because it is delicious and easy to make. The recipe is straightforward- no prolonged mixing or requires baking soda to rinse the prawns. Just mix all the ingredients in one steps.

She mentioned the best way to clean the prawns is to rub some salt on it and clean it under running water. I have made a small variation i.e. to marinate the prawns with salt for five minutes before cleaning it under running water. I find that this method helps to make the prawn meat more crunchy.

I like the inclusion of Chinese mushroom in the recipe. The combination of ingredients is the best among the four recipes.

The Shumai Recipe

My ultimate Shumai recipe is straightforward, easy and involves only three steps.  I have stripped of any unnecessary steps and make it really simple and quick to make.

Yield: 4 large Shumai

Cantonese Shumai recipe

Cantonese Shumai recipe

Shumai is one of the most famous Cantonese Dim Sum.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  1. Marinate the prawn meat with 1 teaspoon of salt for 5 minutes. Wash away the salt under running water until the water runs clear.
  2. Place the prawn in a colander to drain away as much water as possible.
  3. Combined all the ingredients and pound it on the plate repeatedly under it forms a firm mass, like a meatloaf or burger patty.
  4. Place the filling on the wonton skin. Rotate the Shumai and squeeze it at the waist. Press down the meat with a metal spoon to level it. Flatten the base of the Shumai so that it can sit steadily on the steamer.
  5. Steam over high heat, lid on for 10 minutes.
  6. Served.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 201Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 434mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 18g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 3/19/2019

shumai recipe

What I learned from the great mind of the chefs

Below is a list techniques of making Cantonese Shumai I learned after reproducing the four recipes above.  Some of these tips are the original finding by the writers, and some are from my observations and understanding.

Here is a list of important points which are the backbone of developing my recipe.

Preparation and ingredients

  • Use the food processor (in pulse mode) to chop the pork and prawns. You can pulse the pork and prawns separately as pork takes a longer time to get minced. For the best result, use a knife to mince the pork manually. the filing of the pork that is minced manually is far better than those blended in the food processor.
  • After mixing the filling, leave it in the refrigerator for an hour until it firms up. It is easier to wrap the Shumai with chilled filling.
  • Adding some pork fat to the lean pork can make the filling more juicy and flavorful.
  • Chinese mushroom add texture to shumai
  • Chicken powder (similar to chicken bouillon cube) is not necessarily based on the result of my recipe testing, which I intentionally omitting it.

Technique and storage

  • Prawns in Shumai should be crunchy. To make it crunchy, remove the shells, marinate the prawn meat with salt for five minutes. Then wash the prawns under running water until the water runs clear. Subsequently, blow dry the shrimps with a fan. Pounding the shrimps and meats is the traditional method to make the shrimps and meat mixture become more firm and springy.
  • Pounding the prawns and meat is the traditional method to make the prawns and meat mixture become firmer and springy.
  • If the fold of the Shumai skin is protruded out to the sides, you can use some water to seal up the fold.
  • If you use wonton skin to make Shumai, use the extra thin skin and avoid using dry out skin. Thick wonton skin will result in sub-quality Shumai with tough skin.
  • Line the steamer with baking paper to avoid the Shumai from sticking. I rate it as the third most important ingredients after pork and prawns.
  • You can freeze the Shumai if you do not intend to steam it immediately. You can steam the frozen Shumai directly in the frozen form directly.

shumai recipe


1. Dumplingsisters: Siu Mai: Pork and Prawn Dumplings VIDEO
2. How to Make Pork and Shrimp Siu Mai, a Classic Chinese Dim Sum Dumpling
3. Mama Cheung : 燒賣 一 香港 點心做法 ★ | Shumai / Siu Mai Hong Kong Dim Sum Recipe
4. 最好吃的蝦肉雞肉燒賣 | 美味家常點心食譜 | 【美食天堂 CiCi’s Food Paradise】
5. Josephine’s Recipes: Dim Sum | Siu Mai 燒賣 Pork and Prawn Dumplings

    27 replies to "Cantonese Shumai recipe 烧卖 in 3 simple steps"

    • KP Kwan

      Hi, this is KP Kwan. I am happy to see you in this comment area, as you have read through my recipe. I am glad to reply any questions and comments as soon as possible.

      • Simon

        Hi there.
        Do you take the skin off the belly pork?

        • KP Kwan

          Hi Simon,
          Please remove the skin when making Shumai. Definitely, it is not nice to eat.
          KP Kwan

    • […] Gow is the transliteration of the Chinese term 蝦餃, means shrimp dumpling. Along with Shumai and Char Siu Bao, they form the triumvirate of the world famous Cantonese Dim Sum. Har Gow is by far […]

    • Jeanette

      Thank you for this recipe. Do you also know how to make ‘tim cheong’? It’s a sweet dark sauce which you can find often in dim sum restaurants in malaysia, but not in hong kong or china. I live abroad and this is one thing i miss the most when i eat dim sum. Will be great if you can show us how to do this sauce?

      • KP Kwan

        Hi Jeanette,
        I have not made sweet sauce before but the following recipe I found might be of use to you. It is from
        The original article is written in Chinese, and I have translated it for you:
        1.5 tablespoons of the fermented soybean paste (Taucu or 豆酱)
        1 tablespoon of hoisin sauce
        1 teaspoon of cooking oil
        1.5 tablespoons of sugar
        1 teaspoon of light soy sauce
        1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour
        alf cup of water

        1. Heat up a teaspoon of cooking oil and saute the fermented soybean until fragrant. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
        2. Add the all-purpose flour and mix well with a hand-held mixer. Add the water and bring it to a boil.
        3. Add the Hoisin sauce and mix again until it becomes smooth.
        4. Note: It will become thicker after it cools. So just cook and stop short from the thickness you wish to obtain.
        Hope this helps.

        KP Kwan

    • Lim Kian Hin

      Dear Mr Kwan.

      I hope you are aware if not am bring up to your attention.
      Under your own recipe. The Top picture is not Shumai but Har Kau.

      Just for your information.

      Thanks. Sunny.

      • KP Kwan

        Thank you very much, Sunny.
        I have made the correction immediately.


    • Lim Kian Hin


    • David

      Mr. Kwan,

      Thank you for the recipe! I lost my original recipe and I believe this one comes very close to that one. I agree with you, there is nothing better than to sit and enjoy cha with shumai, har gau and char shu bao! Thank you again. Cheers!

      • KP Kwan

        Hi David,

        I hope my shumai recipe come close to your original one. Enjoy your Yum Cha.

        KP Kwan

    • Lorraine

      Wow! This came out almost exactly like the shu mai I eat in NYC. What made it not perfect was not the ingredients or directions but probably something I did.. the filling loosened up a bit after steaming. Is it bc I didn’t add enough corn starch or I didn’t firmly push the filling into the wrapper? I pounded the filling thoroughly I believe. It became a pretty solid pasty mass imo. But for my very first attempt, I’m impressed! Thanks so much for taking the time experimenting with the other recipes and coming up with making your own !

      • KP Kwan

        Hi Lorraine,

        Thanks for trying my recipe.
        IMO, you may not press the filling firm enough into the wrapper. Try next time to make it a little firmer. Lightly squeeze the ‘neck’ of the Shumai while pressing the filling in. This action will help to let the filling stick onto the wrapper.

        Hope this helps 🙂

        KP Kwan

    • Seema

      I am vegetarian. In Hong Kong every Sunday our lunch was dimsums for almost 4 years.
      Please tell What vegetables you add in Sui Mai and in another white dumplings (I forget the name)
      Thank you

      • KP Kwan

        Hi Seema,
        I do not use vegetables in this recipe. Sorry can’t help much for the vegetarian version. But I do know Chinese chive 韭菜 is used in a number of Dim Sum, such as fried dumplings.
        KP Kwan

    • CW

      Great recipe!! I have been trying to imitate the flavors and texture of Shumai that I have at the dim sum restaurants and this recipe hits the nail on the head! I’ve tried all different cuts and types of pork, but never thought to use pork belly. Thank you for a delicious and easy-to-follow recipe.
      I also love beef shumai (with the slight orange peel taste). Do you have a recipe for beef shumai or a suggestion on what type/cut of beef (sirloin, trip tip, ground beef, etc.) that I could use?
      Thank you!

      • KP Kwan

        Thank you for trying out the recipe and glad to know that is what you are looking for.
        I do not have a beef shumai with dry tangerine peel. However, I will put that in the list of recipes to be developed in the future.

        Thanks and regards,
        KP Kwan

    • Eve Y

      Great recipe! I am streaming it right now and it smells so good. How long to steam it if it is frozen?

      • KP Kwan

        Hi Eve,
        I will go for 20 minutes if it is directly from the freezer.
        KP Kwan

    • Lisa Phommavanh

      Can you substitute cornflour with yellow corn meal?

      • KP Kwan

        Hi Lisa,
        It should be OK. Sometimes I substitute it with potato starch.
        KP Kwan

    • Felix

      Hello KP Kwan
      You just got +1 subscriber
      Thank you for your great effort.
      I live in indonesia. I can only use chicken and prawn. Cant use pork and shaoxing wine. Is there any alternative about shaoxing wine? Or any input for chicken and prawn filling? So it taste and flavour the same. Thank you so much.

      • KP Kwan

        Hi Felix,
        Please use chicken or (chicken with prawns) to substitute the pork. Omit the wine, and you do not need any substitute for that.
        It should taste almost the same.
        KP Kwan

    • Felix

      Actually i want to open dimsum street food here in indonesia and use your recipe. And your recipe is always the best . Thank you KP Kwan.

      • KP Kwan

        Hi Felix,
        It is my pleasure to share. Good luck with your new adventure.
        KP Kwan

    • Eva

      I am having a issue with the won ton skin not sticking well to the meat mixture. Is it best to use lean pork? There always seems to be a lot of juices which breaks the wrapper. I don’t use cornstarch but should I be?
      Thanks for the advice.

      • KP Kwan

        Hi Eva,
        Lean pork is not necessarily good, and it does not help to stick to the wrapper. I suggest you increase the amount of cornflour and mix the pork filling longer until it absorbs all the liquid thoroughly. You can stir it vigorously for a few minutes or use your clean hand to hold the meat paste and smash it back to the bowl many times. It helps to incorporate the liquid into the meat structure. Also, press the filling down and squeeze the ‘neck’ of the shumai while wrapping. It helps to get it to stick well.
        KP Kwan

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